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Toyota Dealer in San Bernardino Says No to Black Media Advertising

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Hardy L. Brown
The City of San Bernardino is trying to do whatever it takes to keep some car dealers afloat in the city by giving tax breaks and even money to advertise. This looks like the prudent thing to do except we heard the owner of the Toyota dealership state that he was not going to spend any of the money in print media especially the community newspapers of Black Voice News, Precinct Reporter, Westside Story, American News or Hispanic News which all have offices located in San Bernardino and pay taxes. That same owner changed his decision about the Sun Newspaper when he was told he had to advertise with them. He wants to use our money to spend on radio and  television which are located in other cities.

SEE ALSO: Return Melendrez, Schiavone and Hart to Council

Now isn’t it ironic that Toyota would take the resources of the cash strapped city to help with their advertising, when according to a report in Advertising Age, Toyota USA located in Torrance, in 2007 spent $1.9 billion in advertising making the top 100 largest advertisers in the country.

There is nothing wrong with helping the businesses, that but this same dealer is playing hard ball to deny Chuck McVay, a Black man who owned the Freeway Lincoln Dealership until Ford bought him out, in order to consolidate some of their dealerships from opening a quality used car dealership. McVay still owns the highly visible freeway property of which Toyota would love to own. This same Toyota dealer is also keeping Jack Kennedy of Kennedy Cadillac from doing anything with his freeway visible property located just down the block from McVay. Now both of these dealers have been in the San Bernardino plaza much longer than any of the other dealers who want our tax dollars to stay in business. They were supporting our city in every way before these Johnny-come-lately dealerships moved in and changed the rules.

Now San Bernardino has a population which was estimated in 2007 to be 72.9% Latino and African American according to the United States Department of Census. These are citizens who pay taxes and business license fees, even on their rentals, to the city that is making contributions for this dealer to stay in business during these hard economic times. These are the same people he wants to sell his cars to.  Now since the owner of Toyota wants to play hardball and the city is too afraid to tell them that they need to advertise in the media that serves the Black and Latino community, it is time we tell our people to not buy any cars from him. It was several decades ago that the California Eagle Newspaper in Los Angeles called on the Black Community in a “don’t shop where you can’t work” campaign. It is time for 72.9% of San Bernardino citizens to say enough of this discriminatory selective spending of our tax dollars.

When you look at how our tax dollars are spent by the city very little goes towards Latino or Black businesses, it is disgraceful and causes a trade imbalance with our community. Think of how many Blacks or Hispanics work on the police or fire department with only 10% of them living in the city to pay property or sales tax on items purchased in the city. Just this past week, firefighters were arguing before the city council for more positions, yet, out of a current staff of 150 only nine are African American. Out of those nine, 4 or 5 will retire soon with none in the pipeline to be hired by the city. When we have sent applicants with proper qualifications to be hired, they were rejected. We have a problem.

Since the Toyota Dealer loves to play hardball it is time the Latino and Black communities join hands and play ball with him by not buying his cars. We should inform him that we are going to picket his business to bring attention to his actions. We should go before the city council and demand that they not give tax dollars or incentives to businesses that are not going to do business with our businesses or support our community non-profit organizations. We are a diverse community and all of us must practice the business of inclusion. We must tell the hiring authorities of the police and fire departments that we want a workforce that reflects the citizens they claim to live among and serve. To that group they are always making threats to go somewhere else and work and to them we say go ahead because all of the other cities are facing the same financial problems. There is now a plan to spend over a million dollars to help the dealers, if that goes forward without turning the dollar over in this community more than once San Bernardino will continue its downhill slide.

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